The Helmholtz Association is the largest German scientific association comprising of 18 research centres in fields varying from energy to supercomputing. According to the association Europe should emphasize the grand societal challenges as these are the topics that tend to be neglected on a national level. “It is essential to focus on where the European Union is stronger than the sum of its members and where it offers possibilities the national funders do not have.”
Addressing the societal challenges is part of pillar III of the Horizon 2020 programme. In order to create serious game changers, the Helmholtz Association wants to make more funding available for this pillar especially when it comes to more fundamental forms of research. On this levels the amount of commercial interest is lower which makes it easier for knowledge to profit the greater public.
Furthermore, the Helmholtz Association suggest that the European research infrastructure should be made more accessible throughout the union. “Close collaboration of research infrastructures on technological challenges is key to remaining at the cutting-edge concerning the global scale and needs to be fostered and funded.”
Horizon 2020 is seen by The Helmholtz Association “as reliable instrument to foster the European Research Area and to ensure Europe’s competitiveness for the years to come.” In order to maintain its potential “it is necessary to fully compensate the budget decrease of €2.2 billion caused by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) as the majority of the EFSI projects does not address R&I aspects and thus cannot fill the gap created by the cuts.”
The full position paper can be read here